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UK Royal Animals: Rejected Designs of 1936

Started by Galapagos, May 17, 2009, 03:33:23 PM

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Galapagos

In 1936 King Edward VIII ascended the throne. He asked the Royal Mint to come up with some modern designs for the reverse of his coinage. Harold Wilson-Parker (no relation to the Labour Prime Minister of the 1960s and 1970s, Harold Wilson) developed some designs that came to be known as the Royal Animals set.

Here you see the dove that he designed for the half crown. The Royal Mint thought that the dove was not strictly a Royal bird and might be objected to as a pacifist symbol!

Next you can see the eagle that Mr Wilson-Parker designed for the reverse of the crown. The Royal Mint thought that an eagle was undesirable, as it was already associated on the one hand with the United States, and on the other hand with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

Then there follows Mr Wilson-Parker's stag design, intended for the two shillings.

Next is his swan design, intended for the sixpence. The Royal Mint criticised the design as looking more like a goose.

Second to last, you can see Mr Wilson-Parker's wren design, originally intended for the threepence. Finally, we have the sturgeon, the only fish of the series.

The King was shown the full set of Royal Animal designs and found them very pleasing. However, he was apprehensive about how such a complete departure from tradition would be received by the British public, so after some hesitation he came down in favour of the heraldic designs by George Kruger-Gray that were eventually adopted.

Originally the intention was that the halfpenny and farthing should carry a portrait of Britannia. Ultimately, however, it was decided to rescue Mr Wilson-Parker's wren for use on the farthing, whilst the ship design by Humphrey Paget, based on Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hind and originally intended for the half crown, now appeared on the halfpenny. So we ended up with a mixture of modernity and heraldry - not a satisfactory outcome, in my opinion.





Image copyright of the Royal Mint.

Galapagos

#1
Ornament.jpeg


In 2004 the Royal Mint reproduced some of the rejected designs as part of these special ornaments.

I considered buying these ornaments and then smashing them, in order to extract the replicas.

However, I decided that this plan might not be too successful!

Apparently, the designs were simply part of china or plaster ornament.

They were not embedded coins that were made of metal!

Figleaf

Wilson-Parker's big problem was stick-in-the-mud conservatism. I am sure the king, the prime minister and the chancellor of the exchequer underestimated the capacity of the British public to accept slightly different looking coins. In fact, those who didn't know already have learned from the euro coins that the public is hardly aware of the design on its coins.

People look at colour and size before they decide to accept a coin in change and seldom go beyond that. The cases of new coins that failed I remember, are all about the new coins having the wrong colour and/or size, not the design. Cases in point are the Susan Anthony dollar, that was found too close to the US quarter and the French white metal 10 francs piece that resembled the 50 centimes too much in the public's eye.

Kruger Gray's competing designs were boring. Even more so because his one innovation, the interlocking St. Edward's rings on the threepence and sixpence, was dropped after Edward VIII's abdication.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Galapagos

Kruger Gray's UK designs certainly were boring, and in the 1960s I only had eyes for the ship ha'penny, and those demonetised wren farthings I could get my hands on. Nevertheless, KG did produce some stirring designs for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia and New Guinea. Of his Mauritius designs, the only one of note is his red deer on the half rupee.

<k>

#4
UK shilling 1936-Harold Wilson Parker-ptn.jpg


Image copyright: Royal Mint Museum.

Plaster for the shilling, by Harold Wilson-Parker.


This was made during the review of the coinage during the reign of Edward VIII.

The design was not adopted.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

Alan71

Perhaps a few too many birds and I'm not keen on fish being used as designs for coins, but I like the idea of having animals on coins.  Even 70 years after this, the Royal Mint still went with a very boring jigsaw heraldic design for coins, so sadly the conservatism that Figleaf mentioned is still there.

<k>

My thanks to the staff of the Royal Mint Museum for the scans of Harold Wilson-Parker's original sketches on card.

I have edited them to reduce brightness, etc.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#7
1] Farthing.jpg

The wren farthing.

Image copyright of the Royal Mint.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#8
2] Threepence.jpg

Threepence. Wren.

Image copyright of the Royal Mint.


The wren appeared on the threepence in these sketches by Wilson Parker's sketches.

However, he had indeed originally intended it for the farthing.


Furthermore, the original wren design had included a crown.

That was because the wren conceptually represented 'freedom under the crown'.

However, the crown was omitted from the issued design.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#9
3] Threepence.jpg

Threepence. Wren.

Image copyright of the Royal Mint.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#10
4] Sixpence.jpg

Six pence. Swan.

Image copyright of the Royal Mint.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#11
5] One Shilling.jpg

One shilling.  Sturgeon.

Image copyright of the Royal Mint.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#12
6] Two Shillings.jpg

Two shillings.  Stag.

Image copyright of the Royal Mint.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#13
7] Half Crown.jpg

Half crown.  Dove.

Image copyright of the Royal Mint.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

#14
8] Five Shillings.jpg

Five shillings.  Eagle.

Image copyright of the Royal Mint.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.